John McCain gets all mavericky again

Hillary Clinton, followed by Huma Abedin. Gree...

Hillary Clinton, followed by Huma Abedin. Green Valley High School – Henderson, NV (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wow! John McCain did something admirable today.

The reprobates in his party accused an innocent person of being part of a huge Muslim conspiracy, and he basically told them to shut the f— up.

Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, is a Muslim American. The GOP scare mongers Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) have recently accused her of being “a part of a conspiracy led by the Muslim Brotherhood to influence U.S. foreign policy to advance Islamist causes,” according to a report in the Washington Post.

Here’s what’s on the Web site of  Bachmann, the Swiss Miss:

“The national security of our country depends on getting straight answers from the Inspectors General to the questions we posed in these letters,” said Bachmann. “The Muslim Brotherhood is not shy about their call for jihad against the United States. We seek answers through these letters because we will not tolerate this group and its affiliates holding positions of power in our government or influencing our nation’s leaders.”

The letter they sent to the Department of State is attached here.

Let’s see: At this point of the movie, the legislator after deliberate consideration, rises up on the floor of Congress and reveals the bombshell:

You see the statement. You see the letter. Huma Abedin is a Muslim.

But she’s a devoted aide to Clinton. The worst that can be said about Abedin is her husband’s an idiot. But that’s not the issue. The issue is her loyalty to America.

So McCain shed his Grumpy McLoser persona, and addressed the Senate:

Put simply, Huma represents what is best about America: the daughter of immigrants, who has risen to the highest levels of our government on the basis of her substantial personal merit and her abiding commitment to the American ideals that she embodies so fully. I am proud to know Huma and to call her my friend. …

These sinister accusations rest solely on a few unspecified and unsubstantiated associations of members of Huma’s family, none of which have been shown to harm or threaten the United States in any way. These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis and no merit. And they need to stop now.

Bachmann proceeded to double down:

The intention of the letters was to outline the serious national security concerns I had and ask for answers to questions regarding the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical group’s access to top Obama administration officials.

This is just the latest example of the dangerous national security decisions made by the Obama administration. I will not be silent as this administration appeases our enemies instead of telling the truth about the threats our country faces.

I’ll throw in Juan Cole here. He’s the expert on Middle East politics and a professor at the University of Michigan. On his blog, Informed Comment, he points out:

There is a figure in the Federal government that has suspicious ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim fundamentalist movement that began in Egypt in 1928. It is Michele Bachmann.

He gives a four point explanation here.

Now, some folks of my political persuasion will say McCain is standing up to the crazies because he won his re-election almost two years ago and doesn’t go before the voters for another four years, so he knows it’s not going to hurt him. But I think that would be unfair. After all, he did stand up to the crazies when he was running for president:

So, McCain did the right thing and should be commended.

The upshot: He pisses off the far right again. And I bet in a few days, he’ll piss me off again. I guess that makes him a centrist, tilted to the right?

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Michele Bachmann: the Swiss miss

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

Can you yodel for us?

What the hell!!!???

Rep. Michele Bachmann plans to renounce her Swiss citizenship just days after publicly acknowledging she has been a dual citizen of Switzerland for more than 30 years.

The Minnesota Republican and former presidential candidate issued a statement on Thursday announcing her intent to withdraw her dual citizenship. “I took this action because I want to make it perfectly clear: I was born in America and I am a proud American citizen,” Bachmann wrote.

“I am, and always have been, 100 percent committed to our United States Constitution and the United States of America … I am proud of my allegiance to the greatest nation the world has ever known.”

You mean to tell me that when Rep. Bachmann (R-Crazy Lady) was running for president and making up crap about a Kenyan usurper taking over the White House, she’s knew all along that she would have preferred to be in the Alps saluting the white cross with the red background (the Swiss flag for the banner illiterate among you) instead of among the fruited plains with the Stars and Stripes?

And how did she become a Swiss citizen?

In her statement, Bachmann said that “my dual Swiss citizenship … was conferred upon me by operation of Swiss law” when she married her husband, Marcus, in 1978.

Until 1992, non-Swiss women who married Swiss men automatically acquired the right to Swiss citizenship. Marcus Bachmann was born in the United States but is considered a natural-born Swiss citizen because both his parents were Swiss citizens.

So Marcus the gay basher is a Swiss citizen? I mean, he looks like the Lederhosen type, but at no time during the campaign, when M&M were waving the flag, harassing the gays and badmouthing everything European did anyone figure out, “Hey, these guys aren’t real ‘Murkins?”

Well, thank goodness the Minneapolis Star Tribune told us about it after it was too late.

Cracking the code: Newt speaks to the base

This has been bothering me for a while.

Last week, GOP presidential frontrunner and serial adulterer Newt Gingrich said this at a campaign event at the Nationwide Insurance offices in Des Moines:

“Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it’s illegal.”

And then he said this:

Adding that he thought child labor laws to be “truly stupid,” he continued: “And let me get into the janitor thing. What if they became assistant janitors, and their job was to mop the floor and clean the bathroom?”

The media pundits point to this as Newt misguided rhetoric on child labor laws, since he said about a week earlier:

“Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they’d have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising.”

Everything neatly follows. Get rid of unions, use kids as janitors. Very simple message that appeals to the rich. Why pay adults a full salary when you can get a kid to do it for half the price. But those evil liberals won’t change the law to allow it.

That’s the message to one Republican constituency. But that’s one percent of the vote. So what will appeal to the 99 percent of the Republican base?

Think Lee Atwater and pull out your right-wing translation book. So when Newt says, Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods, the base hears: Really poor neighborhoods are in the inner cities where there are black people. So when Newt says, no habits of working and have nobody around them who works, the base hears: lazy black people. So when Newt says, So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day, the base hears: Black people don’t want to work. So when Newt says, They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it’s illegal, the base hears: Black people are criminals.

Newt knows what he’s saying, and he knows what his base is hearing. He’s a master at the art of giving the base what it wants while fooling the “pundits” on what he means. So when he says: What if they became assistant janitors, and their job was to mop the floor and clean the bathroom, the base hears: Black people shouldn’t be anything more than janitors.

Compare that to Michele Bachmann last week on another issue dear to the base. In Iowa, she was asked why can’t same-sex couples get married?

Her answer:

They can get married, but they abide by the same law as everyone else. They can marry a man if they’re a woman. Or they can marry a woman if they’re a man.

No double entendre. Straight out discrimination. Red meat for the base. But unfortunately for Bachmann, the pundits clearly understand what she’s saying as well.

Here’s the thing about Newt. He says a lot more than you’re hearing. You have to listen closely.

Religious tolerance … or not

It looks like the GOP may have settled on its presidential candidate.

The reason: Now the candidates are debating the religion of their front runner.

Appearing on CNN Sunday, both Republican presidential candidates Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann repeatedly dodged questions on whether fellow candidate Mitt Romney was a Christian.

Dallas pastor Dr. Robert Jeffress, who introduced Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry at Friday’s Values Voter Summit, has said that Romney is not qualified to be president because “Mormonism is a cult.”

CNN’s Candy Crowley asked Cain and Bachmann if they agreed that Romney was not a Christian.

“I’m not running for theologian in chief,” Cain declared. “I’m a lifelong Christian. And what that means is that one of my guiding principles for decisions I make is I start with ‘do the right thing.’ I’m not getting into that controversy.”

“But it will still beg the question that you dodged a direct question: Is Mitt Romney not a Christian?” Crowley asked.

“He’s a Mormon, that much I know,” Cain replied. “I am not going to do an analysis of Mormonism versus Christianity for the sake of answering that. I’m not getting into that…”

Crowley later posed the same question to Bachmann.

“We have religious tolerance,” the Minnesota Republican explained. “We understand that people have different views on their faith, and I have a very sincerely held view on faith and I think we just leave it at that.”

“You know that by not answering the direct question — ‘Do you think you think that Mitt Romney is a Christian?’ — you leave open the possibility that people are going to say you dodged a direct question?” Crowley noted.

“No, I think what the real focus is here, again, that on religious tolerance,” Bachmann argued. “That’s really what this is about.”

The way to end the speculation. Just say he believes in Christ, so he’s a Christian. But then we are dealing with a party that still can’t come out and say the president isn’t a Muslim.

Palling around with terrorists: the Bachmann edition

Always good to know who the presidential candidates have working on their campaigns:

The evangelical organizer who helped Michele Bachmann win the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa Saturday was previously charged with terrorism in Uganda after being arrested for possession of assault rifles and ammunition in February 2006, just days before Uganda’s first multi-party elections in 20 years.

Peter E. Waldron spent 37 days in the Luriza Prison outside Kampala, where he says he was tortured, after being arrested along with six Congolese and Ugandan nationals for the weapons, which were described variously in news reports as having been found in his bedroom or a closet in his home. The charges, which could have led to life in prison, were dropped in March 2006 after a pressure campaign by Waldron’s friends and colleagues and what Waldron says was the intervention of the Bush administration. He was released and deported from the east African nation, along with the Congolese. On Saturday, Waldron told The Atlantic in Ames that he was a staffer for Bachmann and responsible for her faith-based organizing both in Iowa and South Carolina. But he also declined repeatedly to give his name. …

Waldron has been described at times as a leader of a wide variety of organizations, including Advancing American Freedom (co-founder); Christians Restoring America’s Greatness (founder and president); Cities of Faith Ministries (founder); the Contact America Group, Inc. (president); and The Save The Family Foundation (president).

Just another Christian soldier in the Bachmann Tea Party crusade. Which I guess is now needed more than ever, what with the decline of the U.S. and the rise of the Soviet Union. Just quoting the congresswoman here:

But what people recognize is that there’s a fear that the United States is in an unstoppable decline. They see the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of the Soviet Union and our loss militarily going forward.

Should someone tell her the Soviet Union doesn’t exist anymore?

Mass delusion in the “real America”

Here’s something to think about:

Rick Perry is an idiot. So is [Michele] Bachmann by all accounts. These are people with strong social intelligences, but not a lot of analytical firepower or intellectual curiosity.

They appeal to less educated conservative voters who vote their “gut” and “common sense”, and take the mockery and rejection of their heroes’ ideas by educated elites as proof of their righteousness. By definition, these less educated voters tend to be lower income as well. A great many of them are almost certainly in that poorer 47% that has no federal income tax liability.

And Perry and Bachmann are the conservative candidates trying to win election by promising to raise the taxes of the very constituency to which they are trying to appeal. None of this would make sense if the issue in question were being determined based on rational self-interest and economic motivation. But it isn’t. This is a cultural issue for Perry and Bachmann.

At its heart lies the myth of the white suburban taxpayer being gouged to support blacks and Latinos in urban areas. Even though all the data shows that urban counties pay the bills of suburban and rural counties, and more urban states pay the bills of rural states, still the myth continues. It’s so pervasive that you see phenomena like red counties in California wanting to secede to create their own state, using “fiscal responsibility” as a talking point–even though the suburban counties in question are net drains on the state, while the Los Angeles and San Francisco counties from which they want to secede are net providers.

There is a mass delusion in whitebread suburban America that they are the real America, and that they are being oppressed by high taxes to pay for poor minorities, even though the reality is actually the reverse: urban centers pay the bills for parasitic suburban lifestyles, which are ultimately unsustainable socially, fiscally and environmentally. …

They’re the sort of people who can suck up the nation’s tax dollars, while pretending to be Ayn Rand’s Atlas, holding up the entire world on their shoulders, desperate to shrug off the parasitic riffraff for a change. Even when they themselves are the actual riffraff. The less-educated conservatives who will vote for Perry and Bachmann see themselves as oppressed taxpayers even when they are in the 47% that Perry and Bachmann promised to tax, because they don’t see themselves as a member of that economic class. The “poor who pay no taxes” aren’t them: they’re of a different race, in a different place filled with rap music and urban blight. They’re not real Americans who drive trucks and SUVs, and do their shopping at Wal-Mart.

When you look at the numbers, the “liberals” in the cities are the ones footing the bills for “the conservatives” in rural and suburban America, but Tea Party delusionists think that there should be new rules that make it so “their taxes” don’t go to deadbeats. Red states are the nation’s biggest deadbeats, and sometimes I think the folks in blue America should say, “OK, you’re on your own leeches.”

The post also resurrects the ghost of Lee Atwater to explain how people like Perry and Bachmann will keep making these statements to the Tea babblers knowing that they really are injecting racial resentment into a matter that really is about class warfare. Those in the same economic class should be uniting, but instead demagogues are splitting what could be a powerful bloc by appealing to racial hatred.

The entire post, on Hullabaloo, is worth reading.

No room at the asylum

John Boehner

An embarrassed orange

There was supposed to be a vote in the U.S. House by now on the Republican budget/deficit plan. This morning, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Tanning booth) said the vote on his plan would be at 6 p.m. Then the GOP said the vote would take place at 7. It’s now 9:20 and nothing has happened.

Considering the face that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Slot machine) said that Boehner’s plan would be immediately voted down if it got to the Senate, you’d think that the House procedure would be a no brainer … the Republicans pass Boehner’s plan, the Senate rejects it, and then the Republicans get to mouth off on how Democrats want to waste your money and have no concern for the debt the country is in. Seems like a great propaganda opportunity. The Republicans have the majority in the House. This should be over by now. And there’s no reason to stay up all night to find out what happens.

But at this minute, Boehner doesn’t have enough Republican votes to get his own bill passed. Which means he has no control over his delegation. Which shows that the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

And Obama wants to reach a compromise with these guys?

Speaking of lunatics:

Michele Bachmann refuses to answer reporters’ questions about her husband’s “gay cure” therapy and declares him and their business off limits to press.

Bachmann (R-Flat Earth) is seeking the GOP nomination, and she’s saying that asking about her family-run business (which tries to “cure” gay people) and asking about her husband (who runs the clinic and tells clients to “pray the gay away”) is out of bounds. Apparently that means asking whether her clinic receives federal funds is also out of bounds. Let’s not even get into the idea of intruding into people’s lives, wasting government money and denying Americans their civil rights.

But Bachmann is making a point that attacks on family members should be out of bounds. Sort of:

But Bachmann has a very different take when it comes to other candidates’ spouses: She’s repeatedly attacked Michelle Obama in the harshest terms and specifically challenged the press to join in on her condemnations….

More recently Bachmann took to Laura Ingraham’s radio show to condemn the First Lady’s initiative to promote breastfeeding as an effort to enact a “nanny state” and said Obama’s agenda was “very consistent with where the hard left is coming from.” Moreover, she mused that the media was failing to address the issue out of a bias towards the White House.

I’m old enough to remember when Republicans were sane. Seems like a lifetime ago.

UPDATE: It’s worse than expected. Boehner didn’t have the votes so they put the vote off at least a day. Instead they voted on whether to rename a post office in Hawaii. The tea baggers really do want to destroy the country.